July 31, 2009

Why I Love Him

I'd like to introduce you to the man of my life. I know you've already seen his crafty side (here, here, and here). I'm sure he'll love the fact that I labeled him as crafty. Crafty. Not Girly.
In fact, my hubby is anything but girly. A man's man. A good ol' boy who loves to hunt and grub with the best of them. You get the picture.

(Let's all take a moment and acknowledge the elephant in the room: yes, I know I look like ghost next to his dark, summer tan... just call me Casper)

On the inside of that tough exterior, he's a softy. He treats me like a queen. Every. day.
Even on days when I call him in tears because I may or may not have put a scratch on the car at the horse farm. Even on days when I paint half of a room to surprise him, only to find that he has to finish the job. Even on days when he has worked so hard in the hot July sun and I've been at home in the nice cool air conditioning. Even on days when we have mac-n-cheese for dinner. Again.

He has a gift of patience that I will never understand. Which brings me back to the whole scratch on the car thing. Yesterday, I was on my way to drop our daughter off at riding lessons when the little 'incident' occurred. It is a long, winding gravel road wide enough for only one vehicle. Usually, we meet no one on that road. Yesterday was a different story. There was a vehicle behind me and as we came around a bend, we met another vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. Sheesh! Traffic these days!

So rather than the approaching vehicle backing up 20 feet, the guy behind me and I had to back up 100 feet. Let's just say I was distracted by the pile of old boards with rusty nails to my left, the pushy car in front of me, and the guy behind me, that I didn't notice the wire fence to my right. Which, as small as it is, can do some nasty damage to a fine red paint job.

Being the first time I have EVER messed up a car, I was quite torn up about it. Hence, the phone call in tears to my man. He didn't get mad. He didn't even sigh. He just said, "It's O-kay! As long as everyone is safe, it's okay." No guilt trip. No frustration in his voice. Just, "things happen, don't worry about it."

Once again, I was reminded why I love this man!

July 29, 2009

School Room Fun

Today we are taking a closer look at some of the fun things I did to organize our school room.
I love a new project, so this was F.U.N.!!!
I found these organizer boxes at Target in the $ section for $2.50 each. If you walk to the back of the store you will find the same ones (although, in a variety of colors) in the laundry/storage dept. for $9.99 each. Hmm... it doesn't take a rocket scientist to do the math! At that price, I'll work with black.
The galvanized monogram letters were in the dollar section at Michaels during the holidays.
With a little light blue ribbon, they don't look Christmasy at all.

The kids like having their own bins for their personal notebooks and clipboards.

Remember these?
I just changed out the background paper to go with our new color scheme.

Speaking of new color scheme, I had fun whipping up these new window treatments:
I wanted it to be a quick project, so they are not lined, but they work for me.

The fabric is fun, but the colors are soothing.

I love this fabric! It's cotton pique' which adds a soft casualness.

I asked my husband to make a sturdy, decorative shelf for my desk area. He did a beautiful job (as usual). We won't talk about how many holes we drilled trying to find a stud... the stud-finder was lying!! Maybe its little vacation in the fridge wasn't so healthy. (You never know what you will find in the fridge with a 5 year old boy in the house).
A dear friend gave me this little shelf. It was white with a seashell accent. Thanks, Erin! Nothing like a good coat of black spray paint! It now sits on my desk as a great organizer.

I've recently been noticing (on other fabulous blogs) the use of clothespins. I think they are a charming way to display pictures. One perk is they don't damage the picture with a hole or tape to the back. Now I can change out my pictures... whenever!

We've also attached one to a wire on our bulletin board (see previous post). Doncha love my subliminal message to my kids?

Well, I'm off to enjoy the day in our new room!

July 27, 2009

Day One

I've been working on these:

because today we begin this:
While we were at the beach, my hubby made the sign (above) for our new school room. He has the artistic gene, so I'm praying that our children take after him. Yes, to answer your question, he did the letters by hand and then cut them out of wood. Amazing.

Over the summer we've transformed one of our rooms into the schoolroom. Needless to say, it has been fun for me, but the kids have been so excited to watch it come together.
I wanted our schoolroom to be warm, inviting, organized and fun... on a tight budget. One of the fun little projects of the summer was the bulletin board. I purchased a large cork board from Walmart and covered it with dark brown burlap. The flower adds a little whimsy. However, I'm still on the hunt for the perfect ribbon to add to the edges.

Since we recently repainted this room, I was hesitant to hang a dry erase board on the wall. Not because of the nail holes, but because of the inevitable marker streaks that typically surround the board. I found the solution: the drawer of our tv cabinet is stable and just the right height.
The little brown desk was my husband's childhood desk. He and his grandfather built it together. The bookcase belonged to his grandparents. It's been in just about every room of our house(s).

Who says storage has to be expensive? I found the little bucket (below) for $1.49 at Hobby Lobby.
Stick around, next post will feature some inexpensive organizing tips and my new window treatments.

July 26, 2009

Sunday Rest

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens,
and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Daniel 12:3

July 23, 2009

It's Magic!

A couple of years ago, my mom showed up at my door with an unexpected, just-because-you-are-my-daughter gift. When I opened the box, I busted out with uncontrollable laughter. She was giggling too, for she knew what my response would be.
"Seriously, you watched an info-mercial?!?"
"And you believed them?"
"Do you think it will work?"
I know it does.
I bought myself one too.

I thought she had lost it, until I tried it myself.
And discovered that, yes, it is magical:
This little contraption is the BEST! I use it constantly in the summer. Since I am the only person in my family that really appreciates a good smoothie, it is the perfect size. AND dishwasher safe! My mom and I have even been known to take it to the beach because of its packability.

But to appreciate its full 'magical' powers you need these:
Add a little ice and you've got:
STOP. THE. WORLD. Iced chai latte. Total cost: $0.70 Oh yeah, baby. That's what I'm talkin' about!!!

I was headed out the front door and noticed (in my weird decorating frame of mind) that my chai latte matches my Tobacco Road paint perfectly. Hmm... I think I like the paint color Iced Chai better than Tobacco Road.

Where was I? Oh yes, headed in this direction to enjoy a moment of quiet peace.
*Edited to let you know that I did not enjoy a quiet moment on the porch because when I flipped the switch for the fan, an angry mob of wasps came flying out. I guess centrifugal force isn't their thing.
Oh, and one little fun thing to share:
Aren't these old cheese boxes so cool? My dear father-in-law found them in a barn and thought of me. He's known me long enough that he knows I'll take anything old, wooden, with a little character and put it to good use.

July 14, 2009

$ummer Decorating 2::

This is the entrance from our back porch. Back door guests are best, so I wanted to create a space that invites you in, and makes you want to sit down and enjoy. I recovered the little pillow with a quilting square for $0.99.
My ever-so-talented hubby made this sign out of leftover prepainted wood and a piece of galvanized flashing. Total cost for a new sign: $0

In my previous post, I eluded to this little stool:
I found this diamond in the rough at a yard sale for $2. Such great potential! My first plan was to paint it a fun color like lime green, turquoise, or melon. But the practical side won over and I chose to spray paint it black.
Now it is the perfect mate to my new (old) wicker chair

I love sprinkling my home with favorite pictures and little quotes, because they are:
1.) free
2.)easy to change with the seasons
3.) personal
Enjoy your day!

$ummer Decorating

Other than flags, summer tends to be the most 'undecorated' season in my home. This year I decided to lighten things up. What says summer more than some sand and shells? I thought about buying the pretty white sand, but even at Walmart, it was $3 a bag. So I opted for the slightly darker, FREE, straight from the shore kind. I purchased the two largest shells at .99 each. The others were from previous beach trips.

Another way to summer-fy my home is to incorporate summery photos.
Below is a "BEFORE" picture. Aside from the obvious paint changes, notice the difference in the dark photos on the left, compared to the beachy pictures in the next picture in the same spot.


The wicker chair is a hand-me-down gift from my parents. The wicker table next to it is a little treasure I'll share in my next post.

Remember these candlesticks? $2 of flat spray paint and they look completely different for summer. At that price, I can change them back to black for winter.
I love the simplicity of white starfish (.99 each). The word art came from Uppercase Living (which I earned for hosting a party.) I just applied it to an extra kitchen cabinet door, turned sideways.

Total summer makeover: $8

July 12, 2009

Sunday Rest

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

July 11, 2009

More Things I Ponder...

Today's hot topic of pondering is FASHION. If you are looking for hot-off-the-runway fashion, you are in the wrong place. I'm talking about Joe-the-plumber's wife, average Americana kind of fashion.

I've chewed on this for a while and now it is time for me to spit it out and see what you think.
Have you ever taken the time to notice some of the name brands? Obviously, the makers of these clothing lines have a hidden agenda.

Let's begin with a clothing line typically found in major department stores, nestled within the misses and petite departments. While I usually think of cute little old ladies in this department, I ask myself: who really feels good about wrapping their bodies in a clothing line called SAG HARBOUR. As if!
Sag?? Really? You thought we wouldn't catch on to that little subliminal message?
Why not Perky Harbour? Or Buoyant Harbor?

Another brand found in department stores that may or may not give you a slight complex is "To the Max." What does that mean exactly? Max, as in that's my size (maximum)? It's just too close to the word Maxi(pad) for my comfort.

Let's move on to a store that is available to almost every female in America: Walmart. I browsed through their options recently and stopped dead in my tracks when I noticed their main line for women: FADED GLORY.
Now that's a brand that just makes me feel vibrant from head to toe!
Faded glory. So were the makers of this line envisioning former highschool cheerleaders turned couch potatoes when they decided on that name? Hello! Why not "In All Her Glory" or "Glory Girl"? Is it really that difficult to acquire a fun, encouraging registered trademark?

I decided to look into this a little further. Is the message just for the 30+ age demographic, or does it span the generational gap?

Apparently not. In fact, I was very disturbed to learn of the subliminal messages within the clothing lines designed for teen/pre-teens. Let's return to Walmart. So while mom is feeling faded and tired, her teenage daughter can wear the leading line "No Boundaries." Are you kidding me?! So even in their clothing line, we are giving girls the message that life doesn't need to have boundaries?!

Walmart isn't the only one giving those subliminal messages. In the juniors dept. of other major department stores you can also find brands such as Rampage, Fergalicious, and Flirtitude. That last one really shouts honor... you can flirt and sport a 'tude.

I don't know about you, but I'm thinking it's time for us to let the fashion peeps know we mean business. No more sagging, no more fading.
I'm going to shine.
I'm going to stand tall.
I'm going to ...

Target, where women of all ages and sizes can wear the same brand. Please don't tell me there is a hidden meaning to Mossimo.

July 7, 2009

Just Crabby

Aren't these beautiful?! While at the beach, my brother and I decided to buy some live blue crabs to have for dinner. We headed down to the local fish market with our heads held high and acting like we knew what we were doing. We were greeted by the kind, local fisherwoman. Her toothless grin was as endearing as her stories. It took her a total of 2 minutes in our presence to surmise we were totally out of our element. "Have you ever cooked these before?" she asked. Like she needed to even ask. "Here, let me show you."

That genteel lady then proceeded to pick up a live crab from the basket and do the unthinkable.
Giving me a grin, she ripped the back off of that little beast.
While it was alive.
Then she plucked the organs and various oozing body parts from the middle.

Do you realize that I can't even watch someone insert a contact lens without seeing black spots dance before my eyes?

I think I threw up in my mouth a little.
Meanwhile, my brother is totally enjoying the irony of his weak-kneed sister getting an up-close-and-personal demonstration of how to mutilate a crab.

We didn't stick around much longer for fear of what she might bring out from the back room for more gore-and-tell.

Once we got back to the beach house, the real fun began:
How do you get a lone crab out of the bag when they think they are monkeys in a barrel?
Lots of squeals (and not just from the children) were heard. One of my girls got so scared, she ran and hid in the back bedroom.

Not wanting my brother to have all the fun, I tried my hand at throwing them in the pot. See the crab in mid-air trying to pinch me and rescue his friend.

I decided that my brother was better at it so I handed him the tongs and backed up as far as I could. Notice my look of terror:

Even though the lady only charged us for 12 crabs, she gave us 15. Wow! We made out like bandits! Or so we thought. Just look at those beauties piled high, ready to be cracked open and enjoyed:
Oh the disappointment.

No one told us (especially the crab-mutilator lady) that it is not crab season. We had such fond memories of visiting our aunt and uncle who lived on the Chesapeake Bay. Looking back, we realized, that the crab feasts we enjoyed usually occurred Labor Day and on into the fall. Not June.

Each of us ate 1 crab. That meant 9 crabs lost their lives for the sake of us learning our lesson. The meat was not sweet, like those in our memories. Besides, I was still having a hard time with the whole guts/green intestine sludge touching my hand. Grody.

If any good came out of it is was this: My 8 year old gave us an anatomy lesson.
She figured out how to tell the difference between a male and female blue crab.


July 5, 2009

Sunday Rest

As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
Romans 10:15

July 1, 2009

Easy Cobbler

1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup fruit
1.5 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk (I use skim)
pinch of salt
1/2 stick butter

Melt butter in the bottom of a casserole dish in microwave.
Combine other ingredients (except fruit).
Pour over melted butter, do not stir.
Drop fruit on top.
Do not stir.

It will look like this (above).
Bake at 325 for 1 hour.

It comes out like this.  

It is consumed like this:
It is divine and SO easy.  I used frozen blueberries.  The original recipe calls for a can of peaches, drained.  I think a combo of peaches and blueberries would be delish!  You can use fresh, frozen, or canned.  Beautiful.

*I doubled this recipe for our family of 5 to have leftovers.  I made it recently and it yielded just enough for our dessert not doubled.  When doubling, I only do 3/4 stick of butter.  A whole stick makes it too greasy.  Gee, I wonder why.

Enjoy the bounty of summer fruit!